Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Garden Resources

Demonstration Gardens & Places to Visit for Inspirational Ideas

  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center There are endless reasons to visit. I particularly like the “homeowner” inspiration gardens where they have set up a formal, semi-formal, and naturalistic gardens to give you a sense of design. Then they have 23 theme gardens set in square blocks to show you Texas plants grouped in various ways. There’s also a butterfly and woodland gardens. If you wonder what plants look like, this is the place to visit because you can see them for real (most plants and trees are labeled). They also have occasional plant sales. All of their demonstrations involve native Texas plants.
  • City of Austin Demonstration Gardens and Templates (scroll almost to bottom of page). Not only can you see a template (planting map) of the gardens, you can actually do a bike or driving tour of the gardens. They profile a contemporary, classic, drainage solution, deer-resistant, low-maintenance for sun/shade, and wildlife habitat demonstration gardens.
  • Zilker Botanical Gardens – Just next door to our neighborhood, check out the botanical garden’s plants and beauty for inspiration.

Garden Designs

  • City of Austin Landscape Designs (near top of page). The COA in consultation with others have created several landscape designs for different needs, such as: Pool Design, Child Friendly, Drainage Solutions, Creekside, Low Maintenance Shade, Wildlife Habitat and others. You can use them just as designed or use their ideas for inspiration for your  unique yard setting.

Online Information

  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Plant Database This is an exhaustive resource for information on native plants for Texas. This is not a place to browse plants (in my opinion) because there are too many. I use this when I want information on a plant of which I already know the common or scientific name. If you type in a name for a plant and it doesn’t find it, it most likely means that your plant is not native (or you spelled it wrong). In the info provided, I especially value the notes at the very bottom where they provide info on size, sun, maintenance, and propagation. Try “purple coneflower” as an example. Use other materials (like books) to find the names of the plants you like.
  • Texas Invasives. Lots of information about invasive plants in Texas.
  • Invasive Plants to Avoid (PDF) by City of Austin, Texas. This is an immediate download of a PDF that shows pictures of plants to avoid with suggested alternatives that are healthy for our environment.
  • City of Austin Grow Green Resources. Information on invasive plants, habitat certification, local preserves, native plants, and landscaping.
  • Texas Plant and Soil Lab. Recommended by Howard Garrett. In operation since 1938.
  • What’s in Bloom at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. Take a look at the flowers in bloom this week!
  • Butterflies and Moths – trying to identify a butterfly or moth – try this site. You can also drill all the way down to the county you live in to see what butterflies and moths frequent your area.
  • Online Guide to Birds: All about birds


  • Garrett, Howard. (2004.) Texas gardening the natural way : the complete handbook. University of Texas Press. — This is my bible! I just love this book for its information and pictures. The Austin Public Library has 8 copies and I seem to have one of them at most times. It is like an encyclopedia of plants for Texas. It also indicates plants that are non-native but do well here and non-natives or natives that are invasive.

3 responses to “Garden Resources

  1. Pingback: Ready-made Garden Designs « Zilker Gardens

  2. Pingback: Native of the Week: Chinquapin Oak « Zilker Gardens

  3. Pingback: Garden Resources Page Updated « Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

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